The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, Paperback

The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing Paperback

Edited by Richard Dawkins

Part of the Oxford Landmark Science series

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Selected and introduced by Richard Dawkins, The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing is a celebration of the finest writing by scientists for a wider audience - revealing that many of the best scientists have displayed as much imagination and skill with the pen as they have in the laboratory.

This is a rich and vibrant collection that captures the poetry and excitement of communicating scientific understanding and scientific effort from 1900 to the present day.

Professor Dawkins has included writing from a diverse range of scientists, some of whom need no introduction, and some of whose works have become modern classics, while others may be less familiar - but all convey the passion of great scientists writing about their science.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448 pages, numerous figures
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Anthologies (non-poetry)
  • ISBN: 9780199216819



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

How do you pick the best science writing of the twentieth century? Really it all comes down to a matter of opinion, which almost always results in the complaint and special pleading for authors and works left on the cutting room floor (I mean no geology! Come on can’t we get just a little respect). Richard Dawkins never the less makes the noble and very worthwhile attempt to collect some of the very best that science has to offer from the scientist themselves.The book itself is a collection of over a hundred short passages, excerpts, essays, and even a few poems taken from the likes of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Francis Crick, Stephen Gould, Brian Greene, Jared Diamond, Alan Turning, Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Primo Levi, the list goes on and on. Just this alone would make a great collection, but Dawkins also includes the men and women that contributed so much to the worlds of astronomy, oceanography, evolution, particle physics, and genetics that most and certainly I have never had the pleasure of coming across before. Dawkins introduces each and every essay with a humbling and often personal anecdote informing the reader on not just who the author is but why they are important and why they deserve to be included with the ranks of the very best. The book is organized into four distinct groups “What Scientists Study,” “Who Scientists Are,” “What Scientists Think,” and “What Scientists Delight in” providing a unify theme that serves as a backdrop of the often awe inspiring essays that follow. At times the essays can be a bit dry, but Dawkins tries to reveal the whole spectrum that science has to offer. It’s also not a light fluffy affair; some science literacy is needed because Dawkins does not shy away from the technical here. I found myself doing something I love with really great non-fiction works: further research. Not being so well versed in some of the genetics and higher mathematics/physics I was required to independent research and information gathering to grasp the full meaning of that particular essay. I learned so much more than I ever expected. The excerpts and short passages could be so tantalizing that I was sometimes left wishing for more. Couple that with the exposure to works by scientist I would have never come across before has caused my wishlist to implode. I only wish there were more collections like this one by different editors to really show off the diversity of that science has to offer.

Review by

Gives a good introduction to science and scientists. Interesting and fascinating. Rigorous and invigorating.

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